The long, hot summer….

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….is partially the reason for me not publishing anything here for 4 months. Another reason is my work load.

For the last two months, Norway has had a heat wave, to such a degree that we have to go back to 1947 to have experienced something similar. Fields have died due to the lack of rain and the extreme sun, and Norway has been plagued by forest fires, and those are also quite unusual here. Us Vikings tend to sweat at 25 degrees, now we have had 30 and more for two months…

I have worked on two big movie projects, and in addittion to that – my daily work place has been complete re-decorated and facelifted, so this spring and summer has been a very hectic time.

But even if the activity level has been low, I have – of course – listened to a lot of great music. For those of you who think that my preference in music stops way before the 1990’s, I will tell you that that is not the fact. This summer I have delved a little deeper into some current artist and singers, and of course I like a lot of those too. The British sensation named Adele interests me a lot, and I have also played ALL of Britney Spears‘ albums back-to-back, which confirmed what I already knew: she is sensational in every way, and the perfect example on how to mix different musical styles, great songs with memorable hooks, great looks and topped off with a unique voice that lacks range, but still sounds like no one else.

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My garden pond at night

 

A lot of this music listening has taken place outside, in the spring house in my garden. Our garden pond has received a make-over this summer, and so I present of couple of photos of that one – and I’m really proud of my hubby who has done all the work himself.

More musical musings to appear on this site – when I get around to it!

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The garden pond from another angle…

Easter Greetings

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Wishing all my readers a very happy and peaceful Easter!

Usually around Easter, it’s time to start the outside actvities, getting the garden chairs in order and such. This year here in Norway, winter still got a hold on us – and outside right now we have -11 degrees C, and all the fields are still draped in a heavy white blanket…

At least we can stay inside, reading good books, listen to music and watch old films on TV – with a clean conscience. Outside fun will have to wait a little longer!

 

I hope your Easter is a nice, relaxed one – and that these days off serve whatever purpose you need them to be. Stay tuned, more musical musings to come on this site soon!

Happy Easter!

 

 

Merry Christmas to all of you

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Once again the Christmas days are here, hopefully we can all relax and enjoy some peaceful, seasonal time – and if you are like me, music will be an essential part of it.

They say the Norwegians have a special fondness for Christmas music, and that may be true. The market here for Christmas records is seemingly endless…

For me, however, my choice of Christmas music are older, American records – made the classic great vocalists. I cannot seem to get into the right spirit without those records, and they come into my play list every year. In no particular order – my personal favorites are:

  • Connie Francis: Christmas In My Heart
  • Christmas with Helen O´Connell
  • June Christy: This Time of Year
  • Jo Stafford: Happy Holidays – I Love The Winter Weather
  • Christmas Day with Kitty Wells
  • Greetings from The McGuire Sisters
  • Kate Smith X-mas Album
  • Merry Christmas from Dinah Shore
  • …with possible additions: the seasonal albums from Frank Sinatra, Patti La Belle, Jessica Simpson and Mariah Carey

That´s my personal recommendations for you. Enjoy your Christmas – enjoy the music!

More musical updates to come in 2018.

Wishing you all GOD JUL – a very merry Christmas

 

 

Bear Family records – a treasure chest for music lovers

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The German record company Bear Family specializes in re-issues – and thus a lot of us collectors can find some truly exciting stuff!

In my last post on this site, I wrote about Peggy March – an American singer who had a vast record production in Germany. Bear Family has released three CD’s with Peggy – basically containing each and every song she recorded in Germany 1962-72 (she also continued working there for many years after that).

Bear Family records also made me aware of the many Scandinavian girls who had long-lasting careers in Germany, and they have made many really great collections of these recordings.

Below you see some of the “Scandi-girls” packages that are on the market – Norwegian and Swedish legendary singers, performing material that for the most part is not that well-known in their native countries.

Anita Lindblom was dubbed “Die Schwedische Sex Katze”, due to her sensual, alluring voice

 

Long considered one of Norways finest singers – Kirsti Sparboe was hot stuff in Germany also

 

Barbo “Lill Babs” Svensson was tremendously popular in Germany in the early 60’s!

 

Ann-Louise Hanson, one of the most beautiful voices from Sweden

 

Anna-Lena Löfgren made records in Germany from 1962 up until 2005

 

The above are just a few examples – Scandinavia also – at various points – exported Bibi Johns, Wencke Myhre, Vivi Bach, Gitte Hænning, Alice Babs, Laila Kinnunen, Stein Ingebrigtsen, Agnetha Fältskog, Siw Malmkvist, Benny Borg and Sylvia Vrethammar. They all made several records in Germany (singing in German)

Coming up in the next month or so: A closer look at these singers, and what it was that made them so popular in Germany. Stay tuned in November also!

Reflections – a quick look at this site

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Now mid-way into its sixth year, this website is (I’m happy to say) still going strong, and that is thanks to all you readers out there!

When I started this web site in January 2012, I knew what the site was going to be about – and I enjoyed the luxurious feeling of writing articles about my favourite subject, music – in my own time and tempo. Now, five and a half years later – I find it a good time to kind of sum up some of the highlights of those past five years:

  • Profiles on singers Bea Wain and Susan Maughan are the ones who have created the most responses from you out there. I have gotten so many wonderful mails from their fans and admirers!
  • My profile on Lita Ford is the one that have been read by readers in the biggest amount of countries – more than 90. I have to admit that some of those countries I knew nothing about – and had to check.
  • My profile on Diamanda Galas set the first record as “most read in the day of publishing” in September 2013, with more than 900 views on the first dat. This record stood until May 2017 when my piece about (Norwegian former festival site) Salerud Amfi broke that record by a long shot, with 4997 readers on the first day!
  • Also gaining big numbers, accumulated through the years, are my profiles on Sheena Easton, Rachel Sweet, Suzi Quatro and The Three Degrees.
  • I also find it totally awesome when singers I write about take the time to read my stuff – and give me positive feedback in return; I really treasure the mails and messages from Linda Clifford, Diamanda Galas, France Joli, Trine Rein and Bea Wain‘s daughter, Bonnie Baruch Barnes. Thanks, girls – mwah!
  • In my own country, Norway – my article about strange Norwegian disco have gained many funny responses and a lot of people have shared their memories related to those songs.

Some articles have been announced, but haven’t been published yet – they will be in due time. I hope you all will continue to follow my site, and please keep sending questions, responses and messages – they are always welcome!

 

Enjoy your summer!

Best wishes to all of you from Stian

 

 

 

 

 

Coming soon – an in-depth look at Connie Francis

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To me, Connie Francis is the Queen! Of all the great vocalists who appeared on the musical scene in the 1950s, she is the brightest jewel, the unparalleled leading female singer and the only female rival to both Sinatra and Elvis.

Connie has recorded more than 2500 songs, in a variety of styles and languages – she is versatile beyond compare, and absolutely everything she has done on record is vocally perfect.

 

A young Connie in the late 1950s

A young Connie in the late 1950s

 

Connie released 46 albums of music in the USA between 1958 and 1969 (and that excludes movie soundtracks and compilations!). Her first single came out 1955, her last album of new music came out 1996. Connie was one of the first female rockers, but she could just as easily sing big band swing, show tunes, Italian and Spanish themed songs, country and MOR pop. She made theme albums of Irish and Jewish favourites, two children’s records, several albums of movie songs and whole albums dedicated to composers like Burt Bacharach and Les Reed. She covered the 1978 Eurosong Winner “A Ba Ni Bi” (in 1978) and the perennial Bob Seger favourite “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” (in 1989).

 

Connie photograped in 1985

Connie photographed in 1985

 

Her collected discography is vast and varied to the point of schizophrenia, but what is most amazing is that she could handle anything, and did – very well! She made albums for any foreign market, but her career in Germany is worth an article all of its own; she made her first German single in 1960, the last “So Nah” (a duet with Peter Kraus) in 1992.

I have long lost count of the many hits collections of Connies music – and they all more or less contain her best known singles from 1958 until 1969. I will however, look into all her great albums, also those made in the 70s, 80s and 90s. It’s these albums that show off her many sides as a singer and they all contain great music that deserves to be heard by everybody. Her three US number ones (“Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool“, “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own” and “Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You“) + other well-known hits like “Who’s Sorry Now” and “Lipstick On Your Collar” are just a tiny fragment of her recorded works – so I will put the spotlight on other parts of her legacy, hopefully this will be of interest to you!

Did you know that Connie was the first singer to record “When Will The Good Apples Fall” (better known in the version recorded by The Seekers)? In 1968, Jeannie C. Riley hit big with her story song depicting life in the “Harper Valley PTA” – but did you know that Connie the same year recorded a similar themed tune called “Satan Place“? Did you know that Connie recorded a disco version of her old hit “Where The Boys Are” in the late 1970s?

Stay tuned – an in-depth look at the great Connie Francis will appear on this site in the near future!

 

Connie Francis in 2016

Connie Francis in 2016

From summer into autumn….

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I am very much a summer person, and living in Norway it is sometimes challenging to accept that our summer lasts only about four months. I also find that my taste in music in summer is maybe a little lighter than the rest of the year. Summer music might be old 70s disco, light pop and stuff that is just commercial, makes for a fun listening experience, and make me forget that the lyrics often are of the silly “shoo-bi-doo, la-la-la” variety. It is just something in the background, and we can all just hum along (or dance!)

Slowly easing ourselves into autumn, my taste in music veers towards stuff that might be enjoyed inside, with candles lit or maybe a fire in the fireplace. Not that it isn’t commercial or danceable, it is just that when the days get darker, my musical needs seem to change.

So you are hereby warned – my next posts will probably be mostly about music that will have some kind of autumnal touch to it….

 

 

 

 

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